Start 2014 with a guided walk at state parks
Washington State Parks has a plan for you when you drag out of bed on New Year's Day.
Take a hike.
Fifteen state parks are offering guided treks ranging from interpretive strolls through military batteries and coastal forests to snowshoe walks in the mountains.
"It's a little less extreme than the polar bear dip," state parks spokeswoman Virginia Painter said. "It's a good way to get people outdoors and healthy. Most people have resolutions they like to make and what better way to start than by going outside?"
A Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to the parks for the event. The passes for a day or all year can be purchased in advance at most parks.
For more information, go to www.parks.wa.gov.
Take a hike
Cama Beach State Park, Camano Island: Discover winter flora and fauna on Camano Island with views of Saratoga Passage during a 1.5-mile hike.
Meet at the welcome center near the park entrance at 1 p.m. A free shuttle will return hikers to the park welcome center.
Camano Island State Park, Camano Island: Hike on West Rim and Cross Island trails for a 2-mile trek from Camano Island State Park to Cama Beach State Park.
Meet at Lowell Point kitchen shelter at 1 p.m. A free shuttle will return hikers.
Deception Pass State Park, Oak Harbor: Two hiking options at Deception Pass. Hike out to North Beach on Discovery Trail at 10 a.m. then either return on the same trail for a 2-mile hike or continue to Goose Rock Trail for a view of Strawberry and Ben Ure islands on a 3-mile trek.
The hike starts at 10 a.m. at Cornet Bay Retreat Center.
Ebey's Landing State Park, Whidbey Island: Explore Bluff Trail within Ebey's Landing National Historic Reserve. Meet at 10 a.m. at the picnic tables just beyond the parking lot on the way to the trailhead.
All ages are welcome, though small children may need assistance. Leashed pets are allowed.
Fort Flagler State Park, Marrowstone Island: Hike 2 miles along Bluff Trail or take a shorter ¾-mile walk that includes views of North Puget Sound and historic military structures.
Meet at 1 p.m. in front of the park museum. On-leash pets are welcome. The park museum is open on New Year's Day.
Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend: Take a stroll up Artillery Hill and through multiple coastal defense bunkers for a 1.5-mile hike.
Meet at 12:30 p.m. at "Memories Vault." Those unfamiliar with the park may wish to arrive 30 minutes early and ask for directions at the Coastal Artillery Museum next door to the park office.
For ages 10 and older. Bring a flashlight to explore the bunkers.
Goldendale Observatory State Park, Goldendale: Evening hike followed by a stargazing session in the observatory, led by the park's interpretive specialist.
Meet at 6:30 p.m. in the state park parking lot. Leashed pets are welcome.
Lake Sylvia State Park, Montesano: Hike along Sylvia Creek / Forestry Trail while learning about area logging history, wildlife and plant life. Meet at 1 p.m. at the day-use area parking lot. Leashed pets are welcome.
Lake Wenatchee State Park near Leavenworth: Snowshoe on North Lake Loop for a 1-mile excursion of moderate difficulty.
Meet at 10 a.m. at the North Park Sno-Park. A Seasonal Sno-Park Permit and a Special Groomed Trail Permit -- or a One-Day Sno-Park Permit and Discover Pass -- are required for vehicle access.
Sno-Park permits are available online at www.parks.wa.gov/winter. For ages 10 and older. No pets. Snowshoes are required.
Millersylvania State Park, Olympia: Walk or run 3.8 miles of fitness trails through Pacific Northwest old-growth forest. Meet at 9 a.m. at Kitchen Shelter 1. No pets.
Nolte State Park, Enumclaw: Explore the forested 1.25-mile-loop around Deep Lake at this 11 a.m. hike through the Green River Gorge.
Meet at the state park parking lot. Leashed pets are welcome.
Twanoh State Park, Hood Canal: See the interior of a Puget Sound coastal forest on a 2.25-mile hike. Meet at 9:30 a.m. at the park office in the lower parking area.
Boots or weather-proof shoes are recommended.
Wallace Falls State Park, Gold Bar: Hike on Woody Trail to Middle Falls for a 2.3-mile journey to multiple waterfall viewpoints. Meet at 11 a.m. at the Wallace Falls Trailhead. Leashed pets are welcome.
Looking for a day trip during winter break? The road from Longmire to Paradise at Mount Rainier is open for families who want to play in the snow.
The gate opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m. daily. Visitors have to be on their way down the mountain from Paradise by 4:30 p.m.
Traction tires are advised. All vehicles must carry chains in case of snow.
Bringing along the 10 emergency essentials also is advised. At least pack sunglasses, gloves, hats, extra clothes, plenty of food and water. Check avalanche and weather conditions before you go at www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/winter-recreation.htm.
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